Everton’s first team reported for training on Wednesday after a nearly 10-week break due to the COVID-19 pandemic.
The sessions were split into training groups of up to four players and up to three observing coaches, with each group being allocated a different start time. The first session got underway at 9am, with the final session at 1pm.
Players arrived at Finch Farm ready to go in their training kit and were given an induction on the safety measures that are currently in place. They then completed a 75-minute session based on fitness, mobility and ball work.
Following the return to training, captain Seamus Coleman – sporting a Leighton Baines 2012-esque hairdo – did a video interview to talk about the session in detail and how the lads are getting on.
He told evertontv:
“Even getting the kit ready on Tuesday night, you are excited to get back to work.
“It’s probably the longest I’ve been away from Finch Farm.
“Driving through [the gates] was a great feeling but it’s definitely a little bit different.
“The club has taken all the precautions needed. We were in in small groups and it felt very safe.
“It is serious, we have to do things properly.
“We are in there together and it is important we are living our lives right outside the place to make sure you do not endanger anyone.
“The ideal scenario is we get back playing Premier League football and to do that, as players, we need to make sure we are doing everything right.
“The club made sure of that by telling us the rules and regulations.
“We couldn’t wait to get on the training pitch and it was nice to see some of the lads again and get back out there training.
“It is up to us as players now to stick to the rules at the club and do what is asked of us.
“There are measurements to tell us how far to stay apart and a one-way system around the building, so you are not crossing paths with people.
“I was with Bainesy [Leighton Baines], Yerry [Mina] and Michael [Keane] and one of the other groups also had four defenders.
“It wasn’t a very, very hard session, more easing us back in to make sure there were no injuries.
“There were passing drills and strides and dribbling circuits and we finished with playing out from the back.
“We had the manager, Davide [Ancelotti, assistant manager] and Duncan [Ferguson, assistant manager] for the football element.
“You can still get the work in, it was a very good session and we were in and out as quickly as possible.
“It was enjoyable and I was happy to get a ball at my feet again.
“We all have to go back to work and we are happy to do that,
“But I am sure there are people with nerves as well.
“It’s such a strange time in the world, I don’t think anyone could have predicted something like this.
“You first concern is your family.
“After that, the club has done everything so well and so professionally, so I was more than happy to come back to work and get back training and, hopefully, get back playing again.”
️ l “We were in small groups and it felt very safe. It is up to us as players now to stick to the rules at the Club and do what is asked of us."— Everton (@Everton) May 21, 2020
@seamiecoleman23 talks about getting back on the training pitch, with social distancing in play... #EFC
Davide Ancelotti, who took a figuratively “hands-on” approach to training along with Duncan Ferguson also spoke after the first session.
“We have three different training areas, each manned by a group of staff, for the players to work through.
“The first is in the indoor pitch, where the players go directly from the car park for the first part of training, which focuses on strength and injury prevention.
“Then they go to an Academy pitch to do physical drills with the fitness coaches: runs and other cardiovascular exercises.
“The final part of their training is on the first-team pitch with the manager, Duncan [Ferguson, Davide Ancelotti’s fellow assistant boss] and I.
“That work is more position specific. We divided the players into positions and each group has its own drills.
“The first and second groups include two central defenders and two full-backs.
“Group number three is the central midfielders, the wingers are in the fourth group and group five is our strikers.
“We [Davide and Carlo Ancelotti and Ferguson] are on the pitch for five sessions of 30 minutes each.
“It is not easy with only four players to do something tactically but we try to do as much as possible and always work on our football principles.”
Everton’s training for day two and three will follow the same format. After that, the squad will enter the next stage of preparations as they prepare for a potential Premier League return on 19 June.